NFL Picks Week 11: Predictions for Every Game
With seven divisional showdowns and playoff races heating up, we're bound for a ton of wildly entertaining games in Week 11.
The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots rivalry takes on a new look with Andrew Luck under center.
The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers square off in a crucial NFC North battle, and Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos look to increase their lead in the AFC West.
Oh yeah, and Drew Brees will attempt to lead his Saints to their fifth win in six games.
Here are predictions for all of Week 11's action.
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
The Bills and Dolphins face off on Thursday night in a crucial AFC East battle. No, neither club will catch the New England Patriots, but they find themselves in "must-win" mode pertaining to the conference's wild card race.
Buffalo lost to Tom Brady and Co. in heartbreaking fashion a week ago, while the Dolphins were utterly embarrassed by the Tennessee Titans.
Without Fred Jackson in the lineup due to a concussion he suffered in Week 10, C.J. Spiller will take center stage with the nation watching.
The Dolphins have a respectable defense, but it has regressed over the last month, and with an increased workload, Spiller should be able to piece together a huge evening.
Miami's offense will move the ball as well in what should be a captivating affair in Orchard Park.
With some momentum heading into this one and more big-play possibilities on offense, the Bills get a much-needed AFC win.
Bills 27 Dolphins 21
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons
Quite the mismatch here, no?
The Falcons are coming off their first loss of the season—so much for Roddy White's sentiment's prior to the Week 10 showdown with the New Orleans Saints—but they are clearly one of the NFL's elite clubs.
Matt Ryan and Co. will move the ball with relative ease, and the Atlanta defense, especially the defensive line, will have a field day against Arizona's pedestrian attack.
Falcons 34 Cardinals 17
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys
The Cleveland Browns seem to be one of those bad teams that are just good enough to play spoiler down the stretch.
They've won two of their last four after dropping the first five games to start the 2012 season.
Brandon Weeden has been through many ups and downs, but fellow rookie Trent Richardson has pieced together back-to-back 100-yard efforts, and the defense has played much better of late.
Due to all that, they'll give the Cowboys a legitimate scare inside JerryLand this Sunday.
However, Dallas simply has too much talent on offense and will be able to force Weeden into some hurried decisions that'll lead to costly turnovers.
Cowboys 31 Browns 24
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
For my money, this is the most intriguing matchup of the week.
Green Bay has won four straight, and during that stretch, Rodgers' lowest QB rating was the 95.7 outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars two weeks ago.
Tramon Williams and Co. will look to lock down Megatron, which may be the toughest defensive assignment in football.
Stafford and Rodgers will sling it all around Ford Field, but in the end, Rodgers makes one more play than the Lions quarterback.
Packers 31 Lions 24
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs held their own against a shaky Pittsburgh Steelers team on Monday night, but untimely penalties and a very Matt Cassel interception by, uh, Matt Cassel led to defeat.
Jamaal Charles will have a much easier time running the football against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that allows 4.4 yards per rush, but can he carry KC to victory?
Andy Dalton has become more of a downfield passing threat in his sophomore season in the NFL—averaging nearly 260 aerial yards per contest—but he has thrown 11 interceptions after tossing only 13 in all of 2011.
Typically, it's not easy winning inside Arrowhead Stadium, but now, it's easier than ever.
Charles and an improving Chiefs defense keeps Kansas City alive for the first half, but Cassel's ineffectiveness rears its ugly head once again in the final two stanzas.
Bengals 38 Chiefs 24
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Nick Foles will fill in for the concussed Michael Vick in this one, and he should have a decent afternoon against a team without Brian Orakpo that's allowing more than 300 yards through the air per game this season.
However, Robert Griffin III, coming off the bye, will drastically out play him.
I don't envision on shootout here because the Eagles do have a defense that can make plays against teams without a ton of receiving talent.
With the Redskins focusing on stopping LeSean McCoy and getting pressure on Foles, they should be able to contain the injury-ravaged Eagles offense.
RG3 will make a few more plays than Foles with his arm and legs and will lead his team to a win that will shake things up even more in the NFC East.
Redskins 24 Eagles 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
These NFC South teams are clearly headed in different directions.
Many figured, at this point, the Panthers would be the team trending upward while the Buccaneers would be bottom feeders.
In reality, Tampa Bay has won three straight, and Carolina has lost six of seven.
Cam Newton has undeniably regressed in his second season, but the talent, or lack thereof, around him certainly hasn't helped.
Conversely, Josh Freeman and his offense are absolutely on fire, and Doug Martin has emerged as the game's most explosive and productive rookie runner.
Even playing on the road, expect the Buccaneers, with a great run-pass balance, to shred the Panthers defense.
Buccaneers 35 Panthers 21
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
I'll be short and sweet here.
The Houston Texans defense is first in yards allowed per drive. They're third in touchdowns allowed per drive and second in total points allowed per drive, according to Football Outsiders.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are dead last in yards gained, points scored and are 31st in touchdowns scored per drive.
You guess the outcome.
Texans 34 Jaguars 10
New York Jets at St. Louis Rams
The Jets have stayed in the news for another week with the mysterious locker room bashing of Tim Tebow, but just because they're being talked about on TV doesn't mean they're anywhere near being a complete team.
In fact, another distraction is precisely what this team doesn't need.
With Danny Amendola back, the St. Louis Rams are a different team, and Sam Bradford is much more confident under center.
At home, the Rams ride the momentum they got from playing the 49ers so tough in San Francisco a week ago and stampede the dysfunctional Gang Green.
Rams 27 Jets 13
New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders
The Saints are hot.
Drew Brees is sizzling.
The team has won four of its last five, and during that stretch, Brees is played out of his mind.
Well, actually, just to the typical Brees standard.
He's completed nearly 66 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and only four interceptions while averaging a shade below 300 yards per game.
Even if their usually susceptible defense plays well, the Raiders won't be able to stay with Brees' attack.
Saints 30 Raiders 20
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning has the Broncos rolling.
During their current four-game winning streak, they've won by an average score of 34-19.
Meanwhile, Philip Rivers' Chargers are struggling.
This is another simple one.
San Diego's defense is no match for Manning's super-efficient and explosive offense.
We could be in for a shootout in this one, but Denver has too much talent on offense and Von Miller, a defensive player of the year candidate, on defense.
Broncos 34 Chargers 24
Indianpolis Colts at New England Patriots
A classic AFC rivalry renewed, this time with a new look.
Andrew Luck is the front-runner for the Offensive Rookie of the Year based on what he's done with a Indianapolis Colts team that was the worst club in football a year ago.
Tom Brady is having another Tom Brady-esque season, but he's had to play exceptionally with a Patriots defense that certainly hasn't improved much from a year ago.
To some, it's actually regressed.
Luck will find his favorite target, Reggie Wayne, often and keep Indianapolis in contention against a porous New England secondary.
But Brady will dice the Colts secondary and won't force a late-game mistake, one that will ultimately doom Indy's upset bid.
Patriots 38 Colts 31
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Byron Leftwich isn't as bad as everyone leads on, but he's a far cry from the improvisational Ben Roethlisberger.
No crazy prediction here.
Although they're on the road, the Ravens will move the ball enough to take a lead and let their defense make plays against Leftwich in the second half, the time when Baltimore extends a narrow halftime advantage to a comfortable win.
Ravens 27 Steelers 17
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
If Jay Cutler can't go for the Chicago Bears, they can forget about it.
My guess is that Cutler isn't able to play, while Smith is a game-time decision and takes the first snap of the game for San Francisco.
This clash will be highlighted by two of the game's best defenses, however.
In what should be a run-heavy affair, Frank Gore, running behind arguably the best offensive line in the league, will be able to wear down Chicago's defense in the second half and will be integral in a huge win for the 49ers.
49ers 20 Bears 13